Kopi Luwak Coffee in Bali, Indonesia

Kopi Luwak Coffee in Bali, Indonesia - What is kopi luwak? It is actually the worlds most expensive coffee that is found only in Indonesia. The funny part about this is that the coffee berries are eaten by the local Asian civet cat and passed through the digestive system before coming out as droppings and then processed to be this high grade coffee. Sounds disgusting? Yes and no - I personally went on a coffee hunt around Southeast Asia trying out some of the regions best coffee from Borneo, Malaysia, Laos and Vietnam. Finally I had my chance to try this exquisite coffee during my Bali trip in June 2011. 

After hearing mixed reviews of this exclusive and unique coffee from friends and travelers, it was finally up to me to pass judgement so during my Bali trip, every other local person that I met, I would ask them about where I could get some Kopi Luwak (pronounced as Co-Pee Loo-Wak) and most of the time, the answer would be 'everywhere'. From souvenir shops to cafes and even to coffee farms. So my quest began. 
Luwak Coffee sold in packets

After much conservations with taxi drivers, tour guides and even hotel concierges, I managed to visit a small drink stall that served locals near the Uluwatu Temple in Bali. A fairly large sign showed that they sold Coffee Luwak and a variety of other coffees and teas, I did not hesitate and made my order for a cup of this. Was I excited? I was ecstatic! It was the highlight of my coffee quest and when the cup came, I could smell the strong aroma. My personal guide was laughing at me as he had never seen someone so thrilled to see a cup of coffee. Before drinking this, my camera flash went off and then the magical moment came. 

The minute the coffee touched my lips, I felt something surreal, something that only I could experience after trying the many types of coffee from around the region. It was very strong but yet aromatic in its own way. I could not pass immediate judgement therefore I slowly sipped it to flavor the roast and after-sensation. It was good. So good, I finished the cup in mere minutes. I looked into the bottom of the cup and was surprised that it showed coffee residue. Was the water not to boiling temperature? It could have been according to my guide and therefore he took it to the shop lady to have half a cup of boiling hot water added and I had my fill of one and a half cups of this amazing coffee.

Kopi Luwak here cost 50,000 Rupiahs or US$5.60 a cup and I thought it was well worth it. The stall even sold sachets of this at the same price where each pack would make you one cup of coffee. Expensive? Some may think so but if you truly enjoy exotic coffee, you would easily fork out that money for the experience. But to buy a pound of this coffee, it could cost anywhere from US$100 to $600. Souvenirs for friends and family? Only if you can afford this.

Coffee shop selling Kopi Luwak

Where to find Kopi Luwak in Bali? There are many places around Bali and throughout Indonesia that sell them. You have to ask around about this and your best bet is by talking to the locals. While most souvenir shops and even supermarkets sell them, you should be careful as there are many who are just knock-offs and not the real thing. Another option is to go an a Kopi Luwak Farm Tour where they bring you to see how the entire process is done. From seeing the rared civet cats, right to the cleaning process of the beans and then actually tasting the finished product. I should have gone for this but time did not permit so on my next trip to Bali, a farm visit is on top of my itinerary.

Kopi Luwak Berries

Remains of the thick coffee luwak

Among some of my favourite coffees from Southeast Asia are the Lao Coffee, Weasel Coffee in Hanoi, Vietnam and Bottle Coffee in Sabah which I have personally tried throughout my travels. These outstanding local brews make my coffee hunt ever so interesting where there are only a few more that I am looking forward to try which include the Kopi Muncak which is made from the dung of the barking deer and the famous Kape (Barako Coffee) from the Philippines. If you have tried any of the above, I would love to hear your opinion.

I have always found local coffee much more interesting compared to the trendy cafe style coffee like Starbucks and Coffee Bean, I would explore the many coffee shops around here, especially those who roast their own beans for business. In Malaysia, there are many local brewers in smaller towns that produce quality cups of coffee like the famous Ipoh White Coffee and Tenom Coffee in Sabah Borneo. So for me, traveling around Southeast Asia gave me an opportunity to try each of the countries brew and one of the best I have tried is the Kopi Luwak Coffee in Bali, Indonesia.